Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Truly Scary Halloween Costumes for Procrastinators

Halloween is TWO days away, and like all fellow procrastinators, I'm either going to be a ghost or a kitty. But for those of you who are still looking for ideas, here are a few truly scary costume ideas.

Unoriginal Fashion Blogger

Plaid blanket scarf // fur vest // Hunter rainboots // Double pearl earrings // leopard purse // pink lipstick

What's scarier than blindly following tired trends and looking like everyone else? Here are some of the most over-played items in the fashion blogging world, in my opinion. You can top off your costume with some key catchphrases like, "deets on the blog!", "#freshblooms" or "#blessed."

The Culturally Insensitive

Since Halloween is already the home of many culturally insensitive get-ups, why not go full-throttle? Toss on what one clothing store names the "gypsy queen" romper, add a "ghetto fab" wig (from Walmart), and accessorize with a headdress and bindi.

The "You Can't Arrest Me"

If you have a handsome Halloween date to match, there's no easier costume than the "You can't sue me." Featuring an extra sense of entitlement, and a fluorescently pastel pair of shorts. The best way to pick the color combo is to walk into a Brooks Brothers and touch two items while covering your eyes.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dark Matters || Over the Knee Boots and Halloween

On Wednesday, October 22, I found myself at a Marshall's, cradling a beautiful pair of over-the-knee boots in my arms. This is what the boots said to me:

"Brittney," the boots hissed in a voice that reminded me of nebulas beyond imagination, "life is short. The universe is full of casual destruction and never-ending entropy will one day destroy the world. You must buy us."

Arturo Chiang Everly over the knee boots

"But boots," I responded, trying to ignore the women who were pointing and laughing at me because I was on the ground speaking to a pair of shoes, "I have a set budget for every month and I already posted my budget on my blog. I have a fiduciary responsibility to myself and my readers to refrain from making any more purchases until November."

"Brittney," the boots said, its voice growing into a deeper timbre, "there may not be a November given the expansion of dark matter threatening at any moment to take over the galaxy and negate the crisis you are having in the shoe aisle of a discount-chain store."

"Dark matter," I said a few moments later to the cashier, as I was handing over my credit card, "is a very viable threat to our lives here on Earth and I, for one, am willing to flout my budgetary concerns in favor of a richer experience while I may still cling to my consciousness."

The guy swiped my card with a grunt and handed me my receipt. And so here I am, indulging in what could be my last days as a living being, wearing the most beautiful pair of over-the-knee boots. Budget or no, I am an organism most-pleased.

Harvard Veritas beanie

A dark look for Halloween week. Happy soon-to-be-Halloween!

Boots: Arturo Chiang
Lipstick: Maybelline "Timeless Rose" ($8.99)
Jacket/Cardigan: Forever21 (old)
Sweater: Goodwill (it was a part of my thrift store haul from this post)
Skirt: Joe Fresh (old), similar here from H&M ($17)
Snake Ring: JCP (old), similar here ($12)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Poncho Weather || Forever 21 Poncho and Red Plaid Scarf

Forever21 poncho and red plaid scarf
Gray poncho and red plaid scarf
Fall outfits with ponchos || Gray poncho and red plaid scarf
Red and green plaid scarf
Poncho weather || Black chain crossbody and red plaid scarf

I have only ever bought ponchos before at DisneyWorld and Fiesta Texas. They were made of plastic and costed a whopping $10 each. My sister and I tried to ride the water rides multiple times to get our money's worth out of those darn plastic sheets, but it never justified the price. I remember at one point my business plan was to set up a poncho-selling cart in an amusement park and rake in the cash.

Today, my poncho is a little more sophisticated, but still fun. Paired with a bright plaid scarf and matching sweater, there's a flash of red cheer as I move through the streets on the way to class. Those of you who follow me on Instagram voted for this outfit as the next one to feature---thanks for participating! To get sneak peeks of my future outfits, check me out on Instagram.

Poncho: Forever21 (here is a similar Forever21 poncho I found that opens up)
Red Sweater: GAP
Boots: Franco Sarto (20% off with BOOTUP14)
Plaid Scarf: Charlotte Russe, similar here ($10.80)
Bag: Forever 21, similar one here also from Forever 21 ($27.80)
Sunglasses: F21 (old)

Monday, October 20, 2014

October Budget: My Favorite Items of the Month

As I read more and more blogs, I find myself becoming jaded with a lot of them, and the seemingly endless sponsor-parade and bottomless closets of many bloggers. The blogs that are most interesting in me are the ones that are transparent about shopping, closet additions, and remixing outfits because sure, anyone can look good in sponsored items, and it's exciting to see brand new outfits every post, but realistically, most of us are working with limited items.

I guess what frustrates me is the waste and indifference that can result when bloggers are just modeling borrowed sponsor clothing instead of showing their true style. It's hard for me to imagine that kind of blogging, mainly because I budget hard for each month and really delight in the items I buy, even if they are quite modest.

Here are some of the items that I will be wearing over and over in the next month. I hope you find these mini-reviews helpful!

Pink shaggy layered jacket from Forever 21

First up is this Forever21 shaggy layered jacket, one of my absolute favorite items ever. Imagine the softest animal you have ever petted. This jacket is softer. I know the layers of fringe makes my arms look like Chewbacca's, but the furriness is just irresistible . I would love to layer this as a shrug over a sparkly dress to bring some 1920's glamour to a party outfit. Note that the material is 100% polyester (not fur, because this is Forever21) and works better as a stole and not an external jacket.

Forever21 heart print cardigan

Speaking of jackets, I was pleasantly surprised by this heart print cardigan. It's 100% cotton (Forever21 usually makes sweaters out of awful acrylic) and the buttons have a cool crest pattern on them. Although this color is sold out for now, here's a similar one in navy.

Another surprisingly well-made item for $22.80 is this crossbody box bag in a coral-blush color (as seen on my instagram). It has a double zip detail down the sides, and doesn't look cheap or overly shiny. Additionally, it retains its shape really well, even though it's 100% PU.

Of course, who can forget this printed maxi dress that I posted about a few days ago? I called it the "Mother of Dragons" dress, and it's unique pattern can't be beat.

Forever21 dupe for Rag and Bone v neck varsity sweater

Back to more basic items: I've been stalking Rag & Bone's black and white v-neck varsity sweater for a while now, and my Forever21 store happened to carry a dupe! The v is a little low, true to the original, but nothing too scandalous. While I can't find this item online, Forever21 also carries a more modest v-neck version ($27.90)

Forever 21 grid print fold over skirt

Now this grid pattern wrap-over skirt is the only item I'm not totally sold on. It's only $17, but the huge gold zipper on the back and the thin material makes me pause. I also ordered this ASOS peplum hem skirt in check print(now on sale for $25!) to compare and we'll see which grid skirt wins my heart.

Completing my order from F21: I took a gamble with these ankle boots. I still have last year's version but found this year's iteration to be far more classic-looking and comfortable. Ankle boots aren't my favorite shoes (they still bite into my leg at that awkward spot on my shin), but while I could barely walk one hour in last year's booties, I made a whole day of classes from 10AM to 4PM in this year's version without wanting to cut my feet off.

Additionally, the inner arch design of this year's version is just more forgiving for my foot shape. While I won't be wearing these boots for days when I have to stand around or walk to school, I'm overall pretty satisfied with my impulse buy (and these boots have an all-around 5-star rating on the website).

Last but not least: you've probably seen lots of bloggers featuring their tartan scarves by now. Here's a great deal on a plaid scarf from Charlotte Russe. Yes, it's 100% acrylic, but at $5 a pop, it was easy for me to pull the trigger (it was actually harder to choose which scarf I wanted to go home with!)

P.S. In case you are wondering where September's budget went, you will find the culprit in this post.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hummingbird || eShakti Navy Bird Print Dress Review

Eshakti bird print navy dress
EShakti navy gold bird print dress
Eshakti bird print dress in navy

Dress: EShakti, another bird print dress here
Bag: Forever21 ($25)
Cardigan: Mango, similar here
Shoes: Talbots, available in other colors

There is one reason you are seeing a sponsored review today: bra strap clips. Yep, you read that right: normally, you don't see a lot of reviews here on Another Beautiful Thing because I don't want my blog to serve as a publicity engine for companies. However, eShakti won me over as soon as this sample hit my doorstep. Because of bra strap clips. And pockets.

        TIME TO GET CREATIVE        

Let's back up: eShakti sells customizable clothes to-order---they design the patterns and prints, but you get to choose what necklines and details you want for your particular item. I've always wanted to test my fashion designing abilities, so when they gave me the option of picking and customizing one item, I immediately chose this flashy bird print dress and got to work changing up the neckline.

          HOW IT WORKS           

Once you pick a base pattern and print on eShakti, you can get to work customizing it with different sleeves, necklines, and lengths. Since I fit pretty well into a normal size "4," I didn't bother inputting my measurements, but for those of you with a bigger or smaller bust or hips in relation to your height, being able to adjust measurements throughout the torso is a boon.

Additionally, I loved being able to choose the lengths that are most flattering for me, especially since I hem or alter dresses quite often to help them mold to my body. Instead of having to take a dress to the tailor after I buy it, I get to dictate the hemming and alterations up front.

Here is the finalized dress, with a square neckline (I have never had an item with a neckline like this, so it was a nice change) and sleeveless straps. And here is where I fell in love:

         THE PROS         

Eshakti bird print dress with Talbots pumps

Bra strap clips and pockets are included. I can't tell you how loudly I gasped when I saw these details: clips and pockets cost about $5 to add onto a dress, but they add about $30 worth of value to the item instantly because I know my undergarments won't show and my pockets are fully functional. (I can't understand why women's clothing doesn't include these two features in default...but that's a rant for another day.)

As to the fit and material of the dress, it garners my highest recommendation: the dress body is a navy chambray material with a tulle overlay. There is no need to take this piece to the tailor like I do with other dresses because the waist is nice and snug, the concealed zipper works great, and the hem skims the most flattering point on my leg. 

           THE CONS          

The only complaint I had about my order was it took a whole month from the time I placed my order for my order to arrive. However, I have no doubt that this was due to the fact that eShakti was fulfilling the orders of other bloggers who also participated in the promotion. Also, I am willing to make an allowance for custom-made orders. Lastly, an eShaki rep was in constant contact with me about my ordering, updating me every time there was news about its trajectory, a level of service that really impressed me.


Good quality dresses made to contour for your body shape, and guaranteed to fit like a glove---what's not to love? Shipping time is long, but for a dress made to measure, the prices are fair (not quite F21 prices, but less than Anthropologie or Topshop). 

I would probably buy from eShakti for formal occasions when I can justify the price. Nothing beats having a custom dress that no one else is likely to replicate.

         READER DISCOUNT         

If you are interested in trying out eShakti, you can get $25 off by signing up for the first time. Additionally, use the coupon code "anotherbeautifulthing" at checkout for an additional 10% off your order until 11/15.

You can also find eShakti on twitter and Facebook for more design and customization ideas!

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